It feels a little embarrassing that we’ve held onto the idea of industrial insurance for all these years, but today we finally drew a line in the sand and cancelled it. In this video we share some of the why, how and what of that decision, and unpack this next step in our de-transition from reliance upon industrial culture and economy, or what we’re now calling The Fear Economy.
Here’s the audio-only version.
We’d love to hear about your relationship with insurance. What are some of your alternative insurances or strategies to live without industrial safety nets?
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Love the video and the message. I have always held disdain for insurance companies and the example you showed where they considered the family home to be a commercial property is just another example of their greed. Happy to take your money, but not honour the agreement in good faith just reinforces my thoughts about the industry.
PS. Your both looking great, might have to to give those cold baths a try!
Hello Tim, it’s good to hear from you. Oh yeah, cold water immersion – we highly recommend it.
Yes, the greed, right. Home/house insurance has been our only form of insurance since we went car-free 13 years ago. Having a mortgage has meant we had to have insurance, but as we have recently been able to pay it off this phone call from ABC radio and the story of the family with the roadside egg stall swung us into decisive action. Since posting this story we’re finding out how much of a growing trend it is for people to tell insurance companies to go shove it.
Thank you for the story. This make me think! What about us artists? Most of us have a studio at home or on our property. Most of our work is sold trough galleries and shops, but we do sometimes sell from the studio. Does that make us commercial? I must find out. Insurance is a big chunk of money!
Hello Ellen, yes, good point about artists. In fact many of our friends (writers, musicians, artists, artisans) do some sort of creative work at home and some of that is for money. So yes, this is just as commercial as selling a few eggs on the side of the road, even more so because the activities often occur in the actual home. Bah! We recently took out landlord’s insurance for when we went away and rented our house. When we put in for a claim we were told that the damage had to be malicious with an intent to harm. Can you believe it! What a colossal waste of money. No more!
Thanks for sharing, your posts are always thought provoking and continues on with conversations with my husband. I have to have house insurance because I have a mortgage but I currently have health insurance which is something we never use and is expensive. I have thought about getting rid of it but always just end up keeping it. I should let go of that fear and use that money to save or to keep my family well. We are constantly told that we need it, like our only future involves being old and sick.
We’re glad you find these posts generative to your household’s discussions, Kate. All the best with your decision making.
I have to be honest, I was actually surprised that your family has/had insurance. Our family moved away from fear based commercial insurance many years ago. Instead we save a small amount of money every week (in the form of cash), for emergencies. We moved away from the system for several reasons, the biggest being that we weren’t entirely sure where our money was going (who was earning interest on our money?), and secondly because the system is broken. I know of many people who haven’t been covered by their insurance when something has gone awry, as their policy has changed over the years and they no longer met the requirements of their insurer (no one from the insurance company had pointed it out the changes in a clear and meaningful way when policy had changed).
It’s fantastic that you are helping to wake people who are stuck in a system that doesn’t see them as more than a number. Community will always be a better insurance than any commercially available safety net. We need to get back to our roots and invest in our community rather than working extra hours to earn more money to pay a company who may not even pay up when the time comes.
As for the ridiculous laws being implemented regarding small home stalls, I cannot see any other reason than to increase revenue. Sure, they will say it is for safety reasons, because they will play on people’s fears. But at the end of the day it is all about making money. Its not as though a cent of that revenue would be used to pay for medical expenses if someone was injured whilst attending a roadside stall. They don’t have our interests at heart, and we are clueless if we believe they do.
Hello Kimba, thanks for your comment. Yes, the only insurance we’ve had to have since becoming car-free 13 years ago was house insurance. But now we’ve paid off the house we’ve become free to cancel the policy. We completely agree that community will always be a better insurance, and that is why the giving and taking in community is so powerful an insurance. How do we avoid mandated things in our culture, however, when banks and other institutions own most of our homes and enforce insurance? How do we continue to mount tactical insurrections to the dominant ideology while maintaining a relative stability in our homes so we can keep this work going? For us it gets down to a relationship with comfort. Being just comfortable enough, but not too comfortable.
Excuse my ignorance. i hadn’t even considered the fact that you may still have been paying off your home and required to pay for insurance. There are so many policies in place that we as consumers are required to agree to in order to be a part of mainstream society.
It is difficult to navigate this world in an entirely self-reliant (or community reliant) manner, but your family are proving that it is possible. Step by step removing yourself from a system of fear and exclusion, and integrating yourselves into your community, your greater family, who will be there to support you when needed.
Our family are stuck in the rental market. Thankfully we reside in a private rental for the time being (no dealing with lazy, greedy agents). We do hope to one day buy a small run down home on some land (land which the government will happily sell and make a profit from, despite the land not being theirs to sell), and build it back up over time. Without taking out a loan and being beholden to a bank and required to maintain cover from an insurer, it will take decades to be able to afford to live our dream. It’s hard to know which sacrifices of freedom are worth it. The government control so much of our lives, and most of us believe we are lucky to live in this country, this ‘free land’..
We’re really seeing that vision you clearly set out here for a family home, with more security than renting. This is not asking for much. It is gracious and modest and we hope one day soon you’ll step into that homeplace. Imagine a world where everyone had access to land to make a home and grow nutritious food, and a political system devoted to protecting such a vision of wellbeing. We’re holding that shared vision and planting that specific seed every day, Kimba, so that it morphs into resonance, into consciousness, and arrests the greedy and narrow self-interested from doing their death work. Thank you for your grace and modesty.
I had the same reaction to getting rid of my (exorbitant) health insurance – but rely on my “lifestyle” to keep me healthy. Taking personal responsibility is a not an easy thing for one to accept, esp given the constraints that insurance (and insurance companies) imposes on one’s freedom.
So true Peter. Sadly, “personal responsibility” and “freedom” are no longer seen as important projects of the Left. We think this is why the Left (or the New Left or Kidult Left) continues to capitulate to the paternalistic corporate agenda.
Thank you for this story. We decided a few years ago that we wouldn’t have insurance any more. We decided we could live in a caravan and the only contents we treasure are irreplaceable anyway. Most everything else is second hand from op shops. We were not happy giving our money away to big corporations. Having said all that we do still have some insurance because it is necessary for us to have public liability insurance to work for councils and some schools.
Thanks Kate, that level of insurance makes more sense.
Such a breath of fresh air watching you two. I also hate insurance companies and wish I could escape their clutches. Unfortunately insurance is a condition of my home loan. And while I can hardly imagine a weather event or fire destroying my home, I can imagine being sued by somebody who has entered the property and hurt themselves; even someone uninvited such a salesman or religious caller. In the absence of insurance my house would be forfeit, basically. That is the fear that drives me to part with the money, fear of lawyers more than acts of god. The elites have always squeezed money out of the peasantry, through some dodgy protection racket or other. I sincerely admire your stand.
Thanks Michael. That’s a good point about public liability insurance. Religious callers already risk an ear-bashing from Patrick and a warm invitation to join us in the forest for a gathering of souls around the fire. If the elite fuckers want to take our home then we’re obviously ready for another road trip. We totally respect your decision and see the merits of insurance, even if they reject your claims, you might get to keep your home. We get it.
I agree to a great extent but also have a house in the middle of a terrace and worry about who would cover any damage to the neighbouring houses in the event of a fire in mine. That said, I gave up any contents insurance many years ago, as I had never made a claim there either. I have no belief in insurance companies, they are no more than glorified bookies and in fact worse, as it’s painful trying to get money out of them, and they just increase the premiums at will and won’t drop the price unless you query it. What does that tell you about their morals – it says they are fairly crooked. I think if I lived in a modest house surrounded by land, I wouldn’t bother either.
Rob Greenfield did a good video about why he has no health insurance, etc, that was also worth listening to.
Thanks Theresa. Yes we agree, every decision is about context and each household’s set up. I guess for us what’s important is staying attentive to the process of cutting back every unnecessary claw that the fear economy has dug into us. Thanks for the Greenfield suggestion, we’ll check it out.
There is great risk in viewing everything through a ‘lens of wickedness’. Even in a collective living arrangement there would need to be an obligation to put money/assets aside for accidents etc. AAMI are notorious for this sort of behaviour, but to extrapolate from that the notion that all insurance is evil is fraught with danger for the financially illiterate (i.e., about 75% of the population).
Life is certainly beautiful, wonderful, and magical. And people are too. But our institutions – public and private – are corrupt, dysfunctional and harmful. It’s not a “lens of wickedness” we’re examining, it’s the societal phenomena of eternal adolescence (kidults), greed, and narrow self-interest. These things lead to wrong relationship with life. We need elders, Pat Hockey, not olders.
Over the years of consultancy I chose to take the risk rather than have professional liability insurance, we have always invested in personal health rather insurance and, in running tours of Melliodora over the years we have been well aware that our household public liability insurance would not cover us in case of accident. But it never occurred to us that tours or other “commercial activity” we do from home would invalidate our insurance for the big risks such as bushfire.
Given we have never had a mortgage, hate what insurance corps invest in, have invested in extensive design, prep and commitment to stay and defend for bushfire, we feel like fools for having paid out over the years. Then again even for those of us who have been on this journey of self and collective sufficiency and resilience, recent events have pushed us to review what we do. And of course in my Future Scenarios work (futurescenarios.org) I took for granted that the insurance system would fall apart either progressively (in the process become more extractive and devious) and/or collapse dramatically as all the balancing by the global re insurance system reached simultaneous global overload. It has certainly been doing the first but is in increasing danger of the later. As John Michael Greer said, collapse now and avoid the rush. Our psychological resilience is always enhanced when we act as if some support or subsidy doesn’t exist and to be grateful if by chance we receive some benefit from the remaining privileges of affluent industrial society instead of having high expectations that can never be met, in the era of energy descent.
Thanks David! Yes to holding gratitude for what benefits still exist and to composting reliance on the “remaining privileges [of] affluent industrial society instead of having high expectations that can never be met…” C’est la vie, there are no guarantees, just more life coming and going back into more beautiful life.
I admire your stance and wish I could rid myself of the insurance nightmare, but I’m on bush block in a bushfire zone and couldn’t afford to rebuild if I lost the house. I agree with David above that eventually insurance companies will make it so hard for people in any sort of risk area to get insurance anyway, as collapse proceeds, and in the long run, they’ll cease to exist, which won’t be a bad thing.
Thanks Bev, we hope a bushfire never takes your home away. Yes, that scenario of not being able to get insurance if you’re in a flood, bushfire or coastal erosion environment is certainly on the way.
We haven’t taken out house/contents insurance for about ten years for exactly the same reasons as you have talked about. Great that you have made such a good video about it. I just love your inspiring blogs/videos! Please keep them coming.
Thanks for leading the way Lottie! As we get older we deepen our awareness that material possessions have a limiting effect on our lives. This is not to deny grief for the loss of a loved home or degrade the value of our tools and built environment, rather to say in grief gifts flow. That is, if grief is honoured and there’s openness to the learnings of loss.
Just over 13 years ago a drunken trespasser, riding an unregistered, unroadworthy motorbike without a helmet fell off in the middle of one of our farm paddocks. He/his family sued our public liability insurer, whose first move was to attempt to shift liability directly to us (ie void the policy). When that failed, as a family we spent 7 years in the Supreme Court with the insurance company ensuring that they fulfilled their insurance duties to us and we also stood up for other people who were victims of both insurance company weasel-work, or had to face insurance fraud/ legal extortion without cover… (which, if anyone has decided to go it alone, and remove public liability insurance, is a possibility – you will have to represent yourself).
It was damn annoying – but I learned a lot along the way. Some times, for some people, insurance can be useful, other times it’s probably not. Even if you have insurance, for anything, from our experience and knowledge I always say: don’t assume everything will be rosey.
Thanks for sharing this painful story here, Ronnie. Sounds like classic teenage trouble on the motorbike. That we sue, and not perform community rites of passage for our teens, says so much about our culture. Teens, especially boys, who feel unseen and unworthy will continue to wreak havoc in our communities be it by pursuing greed, developing addictions, harming Mother Country and the sacred feminine, or by inanely just smashing shit up. All these things attempt to mask the pain of shame and unworthiness, and yet we never examine this root, we never tend it lovingly or try to understand it. We punish, we sue, we harden, we blame and commit more shame.
Because we don’t go first to the wisdom of the root, the law and insurance is an ass preying on our base behaviours.
you might be right: that the drunken dude had a long history of unresolved painful shite – i don’t know, we didn’t really know the guy (but i’ll just note – he wasn’t a teenager – he was a grown man with a wife and child – and unbeknownst to us, he was having an affair with the gal we had given shelter to – ie a rent free old home for her and her young children – it wasn’t much of a house, but it was better than the alternative: nowhere to live)
his bike was not registered or roadworthy because it was just used on his hobby farm – and for visiting his lady friends…
His ‘accident’ was seen as a wonderful opportunity by his wife/ his family to make money. Lots of money. In our situation, if we hadn’t had public liability insurance covering the legal costs (i estimated the legal costs for our insurer were in excess $2M – and they didn’t lose the case…) we would have been totalled screwed.
Not everyone is sweet and nice (knowing that doesn’t change how I interact with the world mind you – and this experience really put that to the test – and so i can say that with confidence)
There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there – even so – it’s important to keep a sense of humour – and if you have to spend 7 years on a court action, you better see the funny side of things or you’ll get bitter and twisted!
so we like to joke: no good deed will go unpunished…
Oh gawd, sounds like a terrible chapter, Ronnie.
Greetings from Denmark! Such a nice video! My family is insured in a cooperative insurance company – that is, the people who have an insurance there are basically the owners. Apart from administrative costs, all surplus goes back to the members (non-profit). Almost every year we get money back that was not used. Members are elected for the board by members. We have had several and one big incident, where we had good help from the insurance, not that we would be bankrupt without it, but it would have left us in a financially very bad place. We also have a mortgage on the house, so no insurance is not an option for us 🙂 And I’m not sure I would have the courage, but I hear you on the community aspect and have great respect for your choice! Just wanted to mention the cooperative alternative, that although it might not be perfect, is better than the for-profit companies in my view. .
This is an amazing alternative, Camilla. Community-based and serving insurance! Thanks for sharing this.
We’re posting this link as another reference exposing the corruption of industrial insurance:
Is there cooperative, community-based not-for-profit insurance available in your area? Please let us know if you know of any, as per Camilla in the comment above.